Garrick Roberts

I began playing electric guitar in my teens, and have been touring with my band, The Boomtown Rats, since 1974, which means my ears have been subjected to high volumes of sound for most of my life.

About four years ago, I became aware that I was finding it increasingly difficult to take part in group conversations.  I couldn’t hear clearly what people were saying, and, rather than continuously asking everyone to repeat themselves, or telling them off for their poor diction, I would often limit myself to smiling and nodding, sometimes inappropriately, instead of being an active participant.  The television at home would always be at close to maximum volume, with the treble turned up full, and it was the same when I listened to music.  I even got rid of a nice acoustic guitar, as I thought it had begun to sound dull.

My father suffered from deafness from his mid-fifties but he was too proud to use the hearing aids which were available at the time. I had some sympathy with him, as they were the sort of bulky, ugly appliances which have given rise to the expression “hearing-aid beige”. However, it was sad to see him become more and more isolated and I did not want to go the same way as him.

Eventually, I accepted that I must have a problem with my own hearing. A friend told me that a guitar hero of mine, who I knew suffered from deafness as a result of being exposed to ridiculous levels of onstage volume since the 1960s, had been to Harley Street Hearing and was now using Phonak hearing aids, so I telephoned them and made an appointment for a hearing assessment. This turned out to be the best thing I have done for myself in a very long time.

I now use a pair of Phonak hearing aids, which are practically invisible, and they have transformed my life. I can now hear the full spectrum of audible frequencies and can enjoy the beautiful sound of my Martin acoustic guitar again.

Thank you, Harley Street Hearing!